Aussie senator prepares to long fight to bring back poker

Online poker is currently on the ropes in Australia. But while it's on a slippery slope, one lawmaker is diligently working to keep the fight going.

Sen. David Leyonhjelm has been the voice of the online poker players in Australia, representing the Australian Online Poker Alliance. He appealed on behalf of them before parliament and battled for an amendment to the pending Interactive Gambling Amendment Bill which would have excepted online poker from the upcoming ban.

While he was unsuccessful in getting the amendment pushed through, "the Bernie Sanders of Australia" stated recourse still remains and he's fully committed to the fight. He's setting things in motion for the next few steps in the fight to keep online poker legal in Australia.

While Leyonhjelm isn't a poker player — "I've played poker for a beer once, I think" — the issue hits home with him nevertheless.

With 888poker already exiting Australia and PokerStars declaring they'd do the same once the bill gets passed, the writing appears to be on the wall. However, Leyonhjelm outlined the steps ahead that could perhaps lead to a reversal.

In actuality, the IGA meant to close a loophole in the Interactive Gambling Act, imposed since 2001. That law sought to end in-play betting on sporting events, but sports betting companies came up with a way to by-pass the law. Fearing the possibility of match fixing, the government tried to cut off that loophole, and in doing so, effectively put legislation into motion that prohibits online poker.